Episode #7
Coaching with Ciarán Halligan
In this episode:

As we all know life isn’t always the easiest. Aaron sits down with professional coaching expert, Ciarán Halligan, and dives into how to stay disciplined when life decides to throw you a curveball. From his struggles to find work in America to being a successful life coach, Ciarán gives an insight into his life and how he has changed it for the better. Email ciaran@fruehlingcoaching.com for more information or learn more about coaching at https://www.fruehlingcoaching.com.

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Show Highlights
  • Professional Coaching
  • Goals and Achieving Success
  • Grayscale Mode Method for Phones
  • Three P's of Precision and Performance
  • Discipline and Affirmation


Aaron Tharp 0:00
The information provided in this episode is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to replace professional medical advice. If you have questions regarding your health, please contact your medical provider. Welcome back to another episode here at Men Explained, got a very special guest today. Today’s topic is going to be around passion, pursuits, career pursuits, getting in touch with an intentional work life balance and doing some meaningful work in your life. So we are joined today by a very special guest here on Halligan, certified professional and executive coach from frailing coaching and facilitation here in Omaha, Nebraska. Fraley coaching is a consulting firm helping people work, lead and live intentional lives doing purposeful work to create a positive impact to those around them. So it gives me great pleasure to introduce here on Welcome to the show, man. Aaron. It’s

Ciarán Halligan 1:03
an absolute honor to be here. Thank you for having me on. I’m super excited for this one.

Aaron Tharp 1:07
Yeah, for sure, man. So we’re gonna we’re gonna find out a little bit more about your personal story. What led you to be to help people into finding some intentional work? Tell us a little bit about how you got there a little bit about your personal story. And what what you get from from helping people find such purposeful work today?

Ciarán Halligan 1:30
Yeah, of course. So I yeah, I’m from Dublin, in Ireland. And about a quick intro into kind of what brought me to the States about 15 or 16 years ago, I was surfing the web on a website called MySpace, which those older ones will remember. And I am the world’s biggest blink 182 fun. I’m just like obsessed with the band. And I was, I was looking through a MySpace page, a bill blink 182. And I noticed this woman on the page. And I’m like, let’s say hello, because that’s how my space was back then. Right? You could just say aloud to anyone it was it was the good old days. So I said a lot. And we ended up hitting it off. And long story short, five or six years later, I planned to quit my job in Ireland, I packed my bags and moved to New York City to be with her. And six years after that we got married. So it’s a great story, we’re still together. And we’re still living together here in New York. So when I came over from Ireland, obviously I was Irish. So it made sense to get job in a Hospitality Group. And I remember when I first came over, it was much harder than I expected it to be to get work. And I ended up getting a job making sometimes $40 a day. And it was part time work maybe a couple days a week, and I was really struggling to, to kind of keep things together, you know what I mean? It’s kind of embarrassing, or at least it was back then right now I know that a kind of built me to be the person I am today. But when you’re walking up to grocery stores, and you’re trying to buy food, and you’re counting every single item that you take off the shelf, to see if you can afford it. And then when you get off to the cashier, and you’re like, actually, I can’t afford all that. And you have to take something off the counter, it really gives you a sense of what the world is really like, you know what I mean? It kinda it takes the blinkers off. And this is real life. And I did that for years. And then eventually, within a couple of years, they actually climbed the ladder pretty quickly over here. And within two years, I became a managing partner of one of the largest hospitality groups in New York City. And I did that for about four years. And I loved it, I was excellent at it. Like, you know, people are kind of afraid to say how good they are at things because the fear of ego. But I think there’s nothing wrong with speaking the truth about things. And I was very, very good at what I did, but I never felt fulfilled doing it. And I’ve always been the sort of person who wants to help people always, you know, growing up, I was the one who my friends would come to when they needed to, like overcome girl problems. And therefore they in you know, so like, from Dan, it was always the thing. And, and I always love Tony Robbins always, you know, like when I saw the things that he did that impacted me on such a level. Like, I’ve always been quite strong with empathy. So when I could see how he would impact people’s lives and just turn people around, I was like, I would love to do that. But I never knew how to do it until a couple of coincident coincidences came together. And I realized that coaching is actually a career that you could do. So I’ve always been a coach, like for as long as I can remember, I was coaching people, but I never actually studied. And like even when I was running the restaurants I was the one who helped the executive chef. So I helped the partners, they helped the staff everyone kind of overcome or whatever was in their way. And when I realized that the hospitality industry wasn’t for me because I felt like I was facilitating people who were almost sabotaging their life. Now I have no problem with drinking, have no problem at all now for a couple of drinks. But when it becomes a habit and when it becomes your life, and I feel like I’m contributing today, it just didn’t sit right with me. And so between that and a number of other issues that happened in the restaurant, I decided To exit that, and really focus on coaching, and I went and a for a further my education by getting executive coaching qualified. And then I met up with Sarah and the rest is history. So that’s where I’m at at the moment. I love what I do. You know, I help CEOs, I help executives, and high level leaders, entrepreneurs, and I just helped them achieve more success, more greater experiences in life, you know, and make immediate change and follow up with them so that they follow through on what they say. So for me, on a personal level, it shows it’s super, super rewarding and fulfilling.

Aaron Tharp 5:36
Yeah, first of all, I would have never guessed blink 182 web and the connection, which is a really cool story and my space of all places. Very cool. And through all this, you’ve been able to really find your calling. I imagine that took some, you know, digging in listening to your intuition, obviously, you could tell that the path that you were on was not wasn’t fulfilling, it wasn’t bringing you joy. I think a lot of guys have a lot of questions like that we’re coming out of a pandemic, where we had a lot of time to, you know, have those existential questions. Where am I going? What am I doing? Am I on the right path? Is this where I’m supposed to be? Very common questions. And I think it’s very easy for it’s very easy for people to get lost in those questions. Right. So what was it like? Or what was the turning point for you in terms of like finding your calling?

Ciarán Halligan 6:35
So for me, I remember the very incident that actually was like, Okay, enough is enough. A lot of things that happened. And I was kind of resisting it, which I think is normal for a lot of people, particularly men, right? We have this thing where we’re providers, right, and we’re mature, we can get you anything, I make it work and all that sort of stuff. And the cost of that is massive, because you only get one shot on this planet, you know, and to spend it fighting against what is clearly the wrong part is not the greatest use of your time. But it’s a it’s what a lot of us know, right? And it’s like, I can’t like just the opportunity cost of wasted time, right? And it’s like, what if I take the wrong chance? And what if I do the wrong thing, and what if I leave this career and it doesn’t work, so does a lot of fear based stuff that goes on. And, and for me, the incident where which really turned for me, I had a partner who was in one of my restaurants with me. And we were renovating and starting a new restaurant. And I remember I walked up to it on a Sunday afternoon, right, Sunday was my day off, I did not want to go. And this was a red flag to you. I didn’t want to go anywhere near the restaurant. But I seen people open outside looking in the window. And I’m like, What is going on here. So I walked up and I looked in the window, the whole store had been cleaned. And one of the parents had pulled over the truck at 4am in the morning, cleaned out the entire store stole took everything, right. And then it was a whole legal nonsense to kind of follow that. And I’m like, you know what this is clearly not for me, there’s a load of signals here, it’s time for me to jump in. So after getting all them signals, and all the resistance I put in place, it became clear to me that I needed to make a choice. Either I stay here and wake up in 30 years with full of regrets. Or I step into this fear that I’m feeling about making a change. Because like I knew hospitality, and so do but it was time to go. So it was in that incident, you know, you got to pay attention to your goal, you got to listen to what’s really going on within you and make that decision. But it’s not easy. You know, I’m the first to admit, I know it’s a difficult decision to make. And there’s all the fears of if it doesn’t work or, you know, and you’ll hear the inner voice will tell you all the secrets to you or your family California to take a chance, you know the mean? or What will your friends say what your family say? So it’s overcoming all that stuff is really a real struggle is.

Aaron Tharp 8:56
Yeah, and you mentioned that, you know, you felt like you’re, you lead with empathy, right? And and a good coach is somebody who to lead means to go first, right? And I imagine that you’re creating an atmosphere where you’re helping people to get through those spheres, where you’re helping to kind of, you know, wrestle and contend with those questions that they deal with internally, the framework, and you also mentioned that you’re working with entrepreneurs, people who want to be high performers, you guys create a framework for how you’re working with your clients. Can you kind of explain that framework a little bit?

Ciarán Halligan 9:35
Yeah, so if we were to focus specifically on high performance, so there’s a couple of different things that we could do, right, we can work with people’s fears, which is often the first stumbling block that you need to get past because it’s the one thing that paralyzes people, and but there’s also I believe that our use, there’s almost tree pre tree P’s of precision and performance and its begins with precision. Right. So you want to be super clear on what it is you want to achieve, what are the results you’re trying to make? You know, it’s that that expression that vagary is the enemy of action. specificity is the friend of action. So once again, very specific commodities you want to achieve, or then you can start to move to the step, the second step, and that’s preparation. Right? And that begins, we’re planning your week, it started with the big goal and move them back through all the weeks and making smaller goals. So what is the bigger goal? And how can we break that down? Because when you start with the bigger goal, as I’m sure you know, people get paralyzed, because it’s like, it’s just too big a gap. Right? It’s like, all the way over here. I want to I want to private Yeah, how do we get there, right, I’m like, I’ve never get there, I need to stop. So it’s all those sorts of things. And then, in order to make your goals kind of achievable, you got to get your planning correct. And that’s part of your preparation. So I encourage people to do Friday planning every Friday, I plan when next week, some people like to do it on a Sunday. I like to do it on Friday, and then on Sunday, I’ll review what’s coming up next week. And then the night before each day, you spend 20 minutes kind of reviewing what’s coming up the next day. So you have them checks and balances in order in order to keep yourself accountable. And that’s also why coaching is so so valuable to because I get to ask my clients, did you get it done, right? And why not because quite often things get in the way. And quite often unintentional things are unconscious, things have gotten in the way. And that stops people from really being able to achieve at the highest level. Or even the preparation does thing which I have to put in place color buffer block. And a buffer block is like a 30 minute or one hour block per day, or people are allowed to interrupt me, right. So my phone is on Do Not Disturb for most of the day. But there’s this one hour, when I’ll allow people to kind of text me or respond to texts or to to DMS or to emails and that sort of stuff. And people in office spaces can really use that. Because if you have a buffer block and people can approach your office, well, then it’s a much more positive, or it’s a much more constructive way to get stuff done. Because the people are just knocking on your door at random times, you’re in the middle of doing something and you’re just getting get disturbed and that flow gets knocked out of state. So it’s all those little elements will get your get your preparation in place. And then the final P is productivity. So what actually matters around what you’re doing, right, what really moves the needle, and stick to time blocks. So if something is taking a half an hour, or you have it in place for half an hour in your in your schedule, well then it takes a half an hour, it doesn’t take 45 minutes, it doesn’t take an hour. And so mindfully, placing tasks in blocks that it works in is absolutely crucial in terms of of your preparation. And you can use tactics to like pomodoro blocks and a pomodoro block. Have you heard of apama pomodoro? Block before?

Aaron Tharp 12:42
I haven’t No, no amazing.

Ciarán Halligan 12:44
So I can’t remember though someone back in maybe the 80 and 100. So our I don’t know, maybe the 1980s, I can’t remember. But they invented this thing called the Pomodoro block. And it got the name from he had a little like tomato size timer in his kitchen. And he took it into his office space. And what it did was there’s a 25 minute time running, and you’re out you’re working like exclusively on a task for 25 minutes. And then for five minutes, you prep the next one. So everything is 30 minute blocks, but 25 is dedicated. And then five minutes prepping is kind of giving you a rest and then you’re prepping for the next 25 minute block. So pomodoro blocks are game changers, some people actually put them into place. And then there’s other tricks you could do to like put your phone on grayscale mode, right? Because one of the one of the things I’ve researched and found is that people are so distracted by their phone, because the colors are so vibrant on it. So the brain, which is this prehistoric beast of a machine sees all these colors and actually thinks it’s fruit. So it’s looking for food, right? So it sees all these colors, and you’re immediately distracted. So if you put your phone on grayscale mode, that will make a massive difference in terms of in terms of your productivity. So when you’re precise, and you prepare, and you’re highly active, or productive, that’s when you’ll notice your performance really excels. I’m taking personal notes here because I’m guilty of getting distracted. Right? I get a lot add myself.

Aaron Tharp 14:06
Yeah. So the the the thread through all of what you just went through, which is a really detailed and clearly proven model. The things that I pull from that are to be very disciplined. And to be very detailed, and to stay. And to stay on that continued path right to make a commitment to a concerted effort each time. I think it would be fair to say that most of us if you know we’re not that specified, or we’re not that detailed, Monday looks very different than Tuesday looks very different than Wednesday looks very different than Thursday. And collectively that week, cannot be very productive. Having said that, using a framework like this when you are allocating 25 minutes here, then moving on to your next 125 minutes here. You’re exclusively You focusing on that your, your discipline is towards that for 25 minutes and nothing else. And you’re eliminating distraction that takes an inordinate amount of discipline. And I can imagine that that takes a little bit of, of coaching and, you know, because you’re dealing with people’s anxieties and so what’s that, like? When when you’re trying to, you know, get people to work within that model?

Ciarán Halligan 15:28
So it’s a really good question, because what’s very important about it is that you don’t start with this monumental sized goal. Right, which most people do, and that that’s where the struggle, right, it’s overwhelming. And they get that paralysis by analysis, because they have this massive goal. If you start with really small steps, right, it makes it easier. So I always say, well, let’s make the first goal. Very easy, right? So discipline is one of them really interesting things. Like, for me, it’s the more I think about it, the more I feel like it’s like the holy grail, and people just haven’t really discovered it. Right? It’s like the secret to life, or the meaning of life, even what people will call it, because it is the key to achieving and receiving everything you want in life. So if you look at people who, let’s say from every aspect of life, so Christianity, Christians who are disciplined in terms of prayer, would, and and following the teachings of God will get what they want. People who want the body that you want, if they’re disciplined in terms of getting, they will get the body that they want people to want to achieve incredible things in business. As long as they’re disciplined, they will get it. So it’s this really interesting thing, which is the key to receiving everything that we want in life. But it also seems to be the hardest thing that people are able to do. Right? And that’s why, like, everything you could ever want, is a gift from discipline, as long as you can put it in, in the work. And what’s really interesting for me about discipline, too, is it’s self love. Right? And a lot of people don’t really know, like a lot of people I would ask about self love. And so you need to start you need to love yourself first before you can really kind of love other people. And this is getting kind of deep, but it’s probably worth going

Aaron Tharp 17:13
there. Now, man, this is what we’re about. Yeah, yeah. You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Ciarán Halligan 17:17
Yeah, yeah. And I think more men need to talk about this stuff. And so like, self love is something that a lot of people struggle with, they don’t know what it is. They don’t know how to feel it. They don’t know how to eat what to do with it, right? It’s just like this weird kind of taboo, or we will idea, right? It’s just like, what is that? It’s discipline. It’s very, very simply described as discipline. And it’s a matter of doing what you need to do, instead of what you want to do. Right. But to go back to your question, in order to get to that point where you’re doing what you want to or what you need to do, rather than what you want to do, you need to start small, right? It’s a never ending, ending battle between that want and that need. So for me, I’ll give you an example. Right? I like to think of myself as being incredibly disciplined. So my morning routine, and I wake up at 5am. I go for a walk every morning. And then I do and I call them their morning incantations. It’s a Tony Robbins idea, right? He called some incantations. Some people call them affirmations. And it’s basically affirming something about yourself, right? So it’s like, you might sound like a crazy, man, we’re kind of walking down the road saying this stuff, but it works, right? You’re telling yourself over and over. And all I need is with me now. All the knowledge that I need is in me now other skills that I need is with me now. And I am actually working on doing almost like a guided meditation. It’s not a meditation. It’s a guided affirmation and audio thing, which is about 25 minutes long, where it walks through these three steps. So the first step is breathing. Second step is gratitude. And then there’s, there’s visualizations and then it’s just actually four steps. The fourth step is is defining incantations. And it’s reaffirming everything that you want to be right. And I think it’s kind of helpful for men to think about is this, like, Who do you want to be? Right? What are the three characteristics or three words that you want to describe about who you are? So do you want to be loving? Do you want to be respectful? Do you want to be disciplined? Do you want to be successful? Any of those things you can kind of add into your morning incantations. So it’s like, all the respect that I need is in me now, all the love that I need to give is with me now. And he said and sort of sort of a chant, like on a four four beat, and it just reaffirms that into you. And it’s a great way of building discipline in the morning. So I do those and then I have a cold shower, and there’s not a single day, not one single morning to a mile like can’t wait for a cold shower. Never right. It’s like, still to this day, it’s painful, but I do 10 minutes every single day at a minimum. Right? Yeah,

Aaron Tharp 19:56
I’ve tried to cold shower out. It’s it’s not for the week. It’s brutal.

Ciarán Halligan 20:00
Yeah, for sure. But it’s interesting because once you get to like maybe two and a half or three minutes, it doesn’t get any colder, right? It’s kind of maxed out. And then you can like, I honestly think I could do a half an hour an hour, but it’s just like 10 minutes is enough, right? But it’s like getting to that three or four minute mark where your body I don’t know if your body adjusts, or your body’s just too cold. Or if it’s normal, I don’t know what it is. But once you get to that point, you’re good to go. But still to this day, like, every, every time like after 60 seconds, 90 seconds. 120 seconds. My brain is like here. I’m kidding. What do you do? Get out, get out, get out, right? And it’s just like, No, I’m not doing it. Because I say to myself, like a crazy man during me showers. When I say go we go. Right. And I’m reaffirming in myself. When Karen says go, his body goes, that’s it. There’s no there’s no debate. There’s no like questioning. When I say go, we go. Right. So that’s my way of kind of staying disciplined and staying focused in the moment. I feel like if I wasn’t saying that, I would struggle with it even more, because my mind to be running loose, right?

Aaron Tharp 21:05
Yeah, you’re you’re you’re you’re building a, you’re working a muscle. It’s the same way that you would be building muscle in the gym, or getting in better shape, or learning a new subject. It’s repetition. You’re getting in front of your own roadblocks, potentially your roadblock of talking yourself out of it. Right. So before you can even go No, it’s too cold. No, I’ll do two tomorrow. No, I’ll do an even colder one an hour from now. You’re just like you get in front of that. And that’s a fear blocking mentality that says I see it, I want it. I go for it. Yeah. Right. So I want to come back to something that you said about the the self help thing, because I think that that’s so huge. One of the things that we’re really big on here is to both one view, and to both treat men as more than just utility, right? So I think, you know, that’s just even growing up, you know, that’s kind of the preconceived notion that a lot of us are grown up as having is that you’re there to provide and you’re there to do this, this and this, or that there’s that lacks a lot of human like, human, like, human depth in my in my opinion. Yeah. So the way that sounds like you guys, you know, help do that is to get very intentional, right, set specific goals, stick to them, get in front of your fears, create a roadblock or create a narrative and also create a path for success. Right. So you’re working with entrepreneurs, you’re working with solopreneurs? Right? What? What are some of the things that people are coming to you and asking you for? Are they do they want to shave? Six minutes off their mile? Do they want to, you know, have a yacht give us an idea of the kind of clients that you’re working with? And what some what are some of the goals that they’re after?

Ciarán Halligan 23:07
Yeah, well, it’s a great question, you know. So one thing, I have noticed that all the demand, and most of my clients are men. And there is like a common thread that that I noticed that goes through a lot of my calls. And it’s this idea of just like they need help, right? And, and what makes these calls so powerful for me on a personal level, right? So we do cover all all the business stuff, right? Whether it’s if it’s executives I’m working with or whether it’s like a hedge fund guy who I’m working with, and I have other people who just want to work with me on on personal basis. So it does very much depend on what’s important to that person in that moment. But one thing I have noticed is that men don’t talk about these things enough. Right? Like, if you talk to any woman, most of them have a circle of friends who they talk about, everything like that, there’s no limit to what they’ll talk about, right? It’s just like, everything is on the table, let’s just talk about it. You go into a men’s group. And I don’t mean that like a Men’s Health Group, I just mean a group a man. And then we talk about football, don’t talk about MMA, they might talk about beer, and who knows what else. But start telling them about how sad you feel inside or the dark times that you feel when you’re sitting at home, or that you feel like incapable of really providing for your family on a level that you want. No chance. So what I have noticed is a lot of guys do have this stuff that they need to talk about, but they just don’t know where to go with it. And that’s, that’s, for me, it’s probably the most fulfilling like I love helping people achieve beyond their wildest dreams forter faster than they ever thought they could, you know, a lot of watching people be successful, but probably on a deeper level. And I really help people who have, whether it’s issues at home or whatever it is, it’s just incredibly Fulfilling, and sometimes just talking about this is enough, you know, like, you don’t need to solution to it. You just need to know that. Yeah, I’m normal. These are normal things right? And not everyone is like john wayne. And I think that’s half the problem. Everybody thinks a man needs to be john wayne, right? I don’t know, john wayne syndrome. I don’t even know if that’s a thing. But it’s like, that’s what it seems to be. We have this feeling that we need to be like these powerful Arnold Schwarzenegger style people who are just like bulletproof. And really underneath it all. We’re just human beings who just want a bit of love and just want a bit a bit of respect. So that’s definitely a common thread that I see.

Aaron Tharp 25:35
Amen. My brother that you said, you captured it perfectly right that that is at the heart of everything we’re doing. So we’re gonna take a break. That’s gonna wrap it up for part one. If you like what you’re hearing and you want to find out a little bit more about working with Kieran, where can they find? Where can they find out more about you?

Ciarán Halligan 25:55
Yeah, sure. So if people are looking for success or greater experiences in their life, they got to check out frieling coaching COMM And we’ll I guess we’ll put a link to that in the show notes too. And there’s we have this was specifically designed coaching for a variety of issues. So whether it’s people or growth you’re looking for, or maybe the leadership or executive or entrepreneurial help, and in terms of presence, emotional intelligence, or developing a more positive culture, we’re here to help you, right. So if that’s for you, check us out. It’s frieling coaching and I also have an Instagram I have a YouTube channel. And you can find me on LinkedIn as well search my name and pop up

Aaron Tharp 26:35
your we’ll put we’ll post those links and you can bet some of our listeners are gonna are going to reach out to you stay tuned for part two here on Thank you so much. We will be back with you here very shortly. Absolute

Ciarán Halligan 26:46
pleasure. Thanks. Cheers.

Aaron Tharp 26:51
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